UCL workshop exploring art, peace and geography: programme

Spaces are still available for this workshop, which is open to academics and nonacademics alike. RSVP to a.ingram@ucl.ac.uk


Beyond the Geographies of War: Exploring Art and Peace

UCL Department of Geography, Pearson Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

11am-4pm, 27th March 2013



Questions of geography – of space, place, home, environment, landscape and territory – are a recurring theme in the responses of artists to war. But how do they figure in the relationship between art and peace? How can we understand the role that spatial practices and spatial themes play in creating peace as well as in articulating resistance to war and violence?

This workshop will explore these questions with reference to the Iraq war but will also branch out to consider the relationship between geography, art and peace more broadly. With talks by artists Rashad Selim and Emily Johns and academic Bernadette Buckley, and touching on issues of oil, water and ecology as well as politics and war, the workshop provides an opportunity to reflect on how art, activism and critical spatial practices can inform one another.


Timetable and speakers

10.30am Registration; tea and coffee; viewing of Art and War | Iraq Revisited exhibition in North Lodge, adjacent to Pearson Building

11.00 Introduction: Alan Ingram

Dr Alan Ingram is Senior Lecturer at UCL Department of Geography, where he teaches critical approaches to political geography and geopolitics. His current research focuses on the responses of artists and art institutions in the UK to the most recent Iraq war and forms the basis for the exhibition Geographies of War | Iraq Revisited.

11.30 Emily Johns

Emily Johns is a printmaker, illustrator, poetry publisher, newspaper editor and activist who has been involved in art and peace work concerning Iraq and related issues since the early 1990s. Having studied geography at Durham she immediately afterwards studied fine art at Goldsmiths, ‘because pictures seemed to be the right medium in which to think about geography’. Her work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions and used in a wide variety of ways beyond gallery settings. Much of her work has been commissioned by anti-war campaigning groups and used in demonstrations and related publications. She is the recipient of several awards and her work is held in a number of public collections.  For a recent collaborative project Conscious Oil: Myth and Mind in the Age of Petroleum she created large scale lino-etchings, ‘What the Oil is Thinking’, which have their political roots in almost 20 years of work on the war in Iraq, the Iran crisis and how geopolitics and oil have coagulated.

12.00 Q&A and discussion

12.30 Lunch

2.00 Rashad Selim

Rashad Selim is an artist and printmaker, painter, sculptor, curator, illustrator, essayist, cultural researcher, grassroots development worker and project animator. Over the course of the last decade his work has often been concerned with the causes and effects of the war and with developing new resources and approaches to overcome limitations set in the present landscape. His work is held in the British Museum and in 2007-2008 he was artist-in-residence for the Green Zone/Red Zone exhibition at the Gemak gallery in the Hague, which examined the redivision of cities under the pretext of security. More recently he has created Re-Piano, an ongoing art project that centres on the reclamation, reinvention and renewal of defunct pianos. The process of opening and remaking embodies a wider process – an opening of the imagination that is called for in any situation where established systems have become dysfunctional. Re-Piano proposes that this process is not a matter of starting something new but of re-engaging with the huge wealth of what we already have.

2.30 Q&A and discussion

3.00 Discussant: Bernadette Buckley

Dr Bernadette Buckley is Convenor of the MA in Art & Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London and Chair of the British International Studies Association specialist group in Art and Politics. Her research interests cut across several fields from art to politics, philosophy and cultural studies. As well as writing for numerous exhibition catalogues and publications such as Photoworks, she has published several key journal essays including ‘Mohammed is Absent. I am Performing’: Contemporary Iraqi Art and the Destruction of Heritage’ in The Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Iraq, eds., Stone & Farchakh Bajjaly, 2010 (winner of the AIA James R. Wiseman book award); ‘Forum: Art and Politics’, in Postcolonial Studies, 2010; ‘The Workshop of Filthy Creation: Or Do Not Be Alarmed, This is Only a Test’ in the Review of International Studies, 2009; ‘Terrible Beauties’ in B.rumaria: Art Aesthetics Politics, 2009. She has worked on a number of funded research projects for AHRC, ACE, En-quire, Heritage Lottery and the Wellcome Foundation and is currently working on a book dealing with the relationship between art and politics.

3.15 Discussion

4.00 End


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